Night of the Arts Showcases Early College HS

ECHS Night of the ArtsThe Killeen ISD Early College High School annual Night of the Arts event is more than a popular showcase of student artwork.


The exhibit at the Texas A&M University-Central Texas campus is an expression of the Early College culture itself.


Every guest who walked into the Night of the Arts Friday received greeting from students stationed at the entrance to the university’s Heritage Hall throughout the three-hour event.


Art show attendees meandered through the ground floor exhibits, taking in the wide range of sculpture, drawings, paintings, embroidery, and other visual media, and upstairs got to see more visual art as well as works of poetry printed and framed.


The quality of artwork from Early College High School students is impressive. Perhaps more impressive, though, is how deeply students invest in its operation.


Art teacher James Elam estimated that half of the 124 pieces of art in the school’s showcase came from students enrolled in the Art 1, Art 2 and digital art elective classes at the school.


“The Night of the Art is an ongoing tradition that celebrates the creativity of all our students,” he said, emphasizing the word all.

Early College Night of the Arts


“Our students work hard in college-level classes. This is about supporting our students, raising their spirits,” he said.


The school put out a call near the start of the school year through the Thanksgiving break inviting students to submit art for the show. Many Early College students look forward to the chance to express their artistic side.


Clemente Gonzalez, a freshman, contributed two charcoal drawings to the exhibit.


While he does take the school’s Art 1 class, Gonzalez said he completed the two realistic portraits on his own time. “I did these at home,” he said. “These are projects I don’t have time to do in class.”


Drawing with charcoal, he said, is appealing because it is flexible, blends easily and is conducive to erasing and starting over.


Looking around the show, the student said he liked the bustling vibe of the event.


“This is about showing our talent, what we can do,” he said. “I like to get to see other people’s talent, others in my grade level. I also get inspired by other artists.”


Likely the busiest person in the room was junior Jessica Reesman. She contributed four pieces of her own art – acrylic and watercolor paintings and two works of embroidery.

Night of the Arts shows off EC talent


She also organized student volunteers, including greeters and refreshment servers. The talented student was also involved in setting up the venue, working with a team of students to bring the exhibit to life.


“Night of the Arts is about showing off student artwork. All media are welcome, and you can see the variety,” she said.


“I love this show. We have a lot of smart kids. We also have a lot of artists. Students at our school are well-rounded. Early College is very student led. We get the experience of learning to put together an art show and organizing volunteers.”


Early College High School art students will be represented at the annual KISD art exhibit that opens Feb. 26 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.